Zigzag. Yeah.

By Scott Kreeger

Featured Image: “Flowers on a Footpath from Bijutsu Sekai” by Watanabe Seitei

Zigzag down the stairs. Yeah. Zigzag to the trash can and toss the bag in. Yeah.

Zigzag through the gate and into the pool area. Yeah. Zigzag between the chaise lounges. Yeah. Zigzag down the steps and into the pool. Yeah.

Zigzag too cold, too cold. Yeah. Zigzag out of the pool. Yeah.

Zigzag out the gate. Yeah. Zigzag onto the bike. Yeah. Zigzag past apart- ments 4, 3, 2, 1, and into the alley. Yeah. Zigzag down the alley and out to the street. Yeah. Zigzag wait for traffic. Yeah.

Zigzag across the street. Yeah. Zigzag off the bike and into the store. Yeah. Zigzag past the smiley man behind the counter. Yeah. Zigzag smile back, wave, say hello. Yeah.

Zigzag to the candy. Yeah. Zigzag to the Zagnut bars. Yeah. Zigzag pick out a Zagnut. Yeah. Zigzag Zagnut. Yeah.

Zigzag say that again three times fast. Yeah. Zigzag Zagnut zigzag Zagnut zigzag Zagnut. Yeah.

Zigzag to the register and pay for the Zagnut. Yeah.

Zigzag outside. Yeah. Zigzag onto the bike and over to the payphone. Yeah.

Zigzag dial 0. Yeah.

Zigzag unwrap the Zagnut and take a bite. Yeah. Zigzag tell the operator it’s a collect call. Yeah. Zigzag tell her the number. Yeah. Zigzag take another bite of the Zagnut. Yeah.

“From who?”

“From Zigzag Nathan, that’s who. Yeah.” “What?”

“Nathan Zigzag. Yeah.”

“A collect call from Nathan?” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

Zigzag take another bite of the Zagnut. Yeah. Zigzag hear the operator talk to her. Yeah. Zigzag hear the operator tell her who’s calling. Yeah. Zigzag hear

her say she’ll take the call. Yeah. “Nathan?”

“Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Thank God. I been calling and calling. Guess she didn’t pay the phone bill again. There’s no service on her cell, either.”

“Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Enough of that. Talk normal to your grandma.” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Called her work. They said your mother hasn’t shown up since Tuesday.

Another job she’s gonna lose.” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Enough with the zigzagging. So what happened—he leave her?” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Good. That one was a son-of-a-bitch. She never handles it after they leave, though. Has she bottomed out?”

“Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Okay. You do like I told you?” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

“You gather up all the pills in a bag and throw everything in the trash?” “Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Good. Now listen. I’m gonna get in the car, okay? It’ll take me three hours to get there. Four, if I hit traffic.”

“Zigzag. Yeah.”

“Be a good boy until I get there. Make sure she doesn’t do anything stu- pid.”

“Zigzag. Yeah.”

Zigzag hang up the phone. Yeah.

Zigzag finish up the Zagnut. Yeah. Zigzag crumple up the wrapper and toss it on the ground. Yeah.

Zigzag onto the bike. Yeah. Zigzag across the street. Yeah. Zigzag down the alley. Yeah. Zigzag toss the bike down. Yeah. Zigzag up the stairs. Yeah. Zigzag open the door. Yeah. Zigzag into the apartment. Yeah. Zigzag into the bedroom. Yeah. Zigzag up to the bed. Yeah. Zigzag bend down. Yeah. Zigzag put a hand under her nose. Yeah. Zigzag make sure there’s breath coming out. Yeah. Zigzag take off shoes. Yeah. Zigzag lie down next to her. Yeah. Zigzag close eyes. Yeah. Zigzag fall asleep. Yeah. Zigzag have good dreams. Yeah.

Scott Kreeger is a psychotherapist who works with children, teenagers and adults. His short fiction has previously appeared in The Crescent Review, and a story of his will appear in the forthcoming edition of Fourteen Hills. He lives in Maryland with his wife and daughter.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

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